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What Abi Taught Us

Quick Overview

The inspiring story of how Lucy Hone coped with the tragic death of her daughter and how strategies from the science of resilient grieving can help anyone face an equally helpless situation.

Lucy Hone’s beloved 12-year-old daughter Abi was killed in 2014 in a devastating car accident in Canterbury that also claimed the lives of Abi’s friend Ella and Ella’s mother Sally.

Lucy works in the field of resilience psychology, helping ordinary people exposed to real-life traumatic situations. When faced with the incomprehensible fact of Abi’s tragic death Lucy knew that she was fighting for the survival of her sanity and her family unit.

She used her practice to develop ways to support her family in their darkest days, and to find a new way of living without Abi.

In What Abi Taught Us Lucy shares her story and research so that others can work to regain some sense of control and take action in the face of helpless situations.

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Health Professional Review

Health Professional Reviewer: Gill Eastgate, Mental Health Practitioner at WellSouth. Reviewed 30 June 2016.

Book Title: What Abi Taught Us: A mother’s struggle to come to terms with her daughter’s death

Author(s): Dr Lucy Hone lives in Christchurch and is a research academic in the field of resilience/ wellbeing psychology at Auckland University of Technology.

Date published: 2016

Suitable for:
• People who can read at an intermediate level
• Adults who have lost a friend/ family member, especially sudden death but also bereavement in general.
• Professionals who work with people who have experienced a bereavement.
• Family and friends of those who have experienced a bereavement.

Problems addressed:
• The reality of dealing with the death of someone you love.
• Practical strategies for resilient grieving.

Book Summary:

This is the personal story of Lucy Hone’s experience of grief and bereavement in the wake of a car accident which killed her 12 year old daughter Abi in 2013. Also killed in the accident were Abi’s best friend, Ella, and Ella’s mother, Sally who was also a good friend of Lucy’s.
While intensely personal and self-revealing in terms of her own grief journey, the book also deals with what Lucy terms “resilient grieving”. Lucy works in the field of resilient psychology, and well-being particularly as this relates to people who have experienced trauma. As a resident of Christchurch, following the devastating earthquake of 2011 and the continuing aftershocks, she worked with government departments, community groups, and not-for-profit organisations. This work involved translating her academic research into “understandable and easily adoptable strategies” to help the people of her community and city cope with the stress and ongoing trauma of the earthquakes and aftershocks.

Two years later in the wake of her daughter and friend’s tragic deaths she again looked to her academic background and knowledge to assist and inform her grief journey. The result is a moving and powerful account which has the potential to assist others in similar situations, and to be helpful and informative for professionals also.

Strengths & Weaknesses:

This book is well-presented and easily accessible to all. While at times referring to research or academic findings, Lucy writes in a way that any lay person can understand. It is also not differentiated, in that her personal experiences are the thread around which the ‘more’ research-based strategies and findings are woven. Lucy is also respectful and mindful of the individuality of the grieving process, and there is no ‘preaching’ or insistence that what she has found helpful will necessarily be so for others.

The research is up to date, and the book includes other people’s experiences and stories, including blogs and communications which Lucy has found helpful or meaningful in her own personal journey.

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